Justice Mordy Bromberg, a Federal court judge of Australia, has found Apple guilty of deliberately misleading its iPad customers about the product’s capability. As a result, Apple has been fined AU$2.25 million (roughly US$2.29 million) along with being told to pay AU$300,000 (roughly US$305,450) for costs.
The advertisement which brought on this lawsuit is the one in which Apple claims the new iPad with WiFi and 4G would be able to connect with the 4G networks in Australia. In reality, the new iPad’s 4G connectivity is supported by some carriers in the US and Canada but it cannot connect with 4G networks in Australia.
The judge noted that even after being notified that the advertisement might mislead customers, Apple didn’t take any action to change or remove the advertisement; an action which welcomed the current scenario.
The actions against Apple on this issue was kickstarted by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), which said it is delighted with the outcome. As noted by ACCC chairman Rod Sims, the ruling marks the seriousness of the offense a company of such repute (i.e. Apple) has committed.
The judge had delayed the ruling to study the statistical details of the iPad’s sales and refunds. Apple had stated in May that it would refund their Australian customers if they felt to have been deceived by the company. From May 12 the advertisement had also been changed to “Wi-Fi + Cellular” for regions other than North America; and its website now clearly says that “it is not compatible with current Australian 4G LTE and WiMax networks.”
Bromberg said Thursday [that] the risk of contravening Australian consumer law would have been “reasonably obvious” to Apple.
“In that context, and in the absence of any other explanation, the facts to which I have just referred suggest that Apple’s desire for global uniformity was given a greater priority than the need to ensure compliance with the Australian consumer law,” he said.
“Conduct of that kind is serious and unacceptable.”
Though the news is bad for Apple, it doesn’t really affect it much financially considering how well the iPad is selling.
[via Yahoo News]